Double Agents: 6 Healthy Cooking Tools
More Double AgentsPastry Cutter
It makes more than biscuits and flaky piecrusts.
Rock some guac. Homemade guacamole tends to be better because it has no additives or fillers. "Squeeze lime juice over the avocado before mashing it with the pastry cutter or it will brown quickly," Alexander says. Tailor guac to your taste by adding minced garlic, finely chopped white onion, fresh cilantro, and/or diced jalapenos.
Create DIY tomato sauce. The jarred variety can contain high-fructose corn syrup and almost triple the sodium of potato chips, says Wendy Bazilian, RD, the author of The SuperFoods Rx Diet. Just roll the cutter back and forth over peeled fresh or canned tomatoes, saute them with garlic in olive oil, and season with herbs and spices for a healthier version.
Chop nuts. With five times the chopping power of a single blade, this time-saver gets the job done quicker. Add the heart-healthy crunchies to oatmeal, yogurt, or muffins. "Or try baked pecan- or pistachio-crusted chicken," Alexander suggests. "If you soak the chicken in low-fat buttermilk overnight to tenderize it, the nuts will just stick."Cookie Sheets
Don't pull them out only for a batch of snickerdoodles.
Whip up granola. The stuff you make at home has a leg up on the store-bought sort because "you can decrease sugar and fat while increasing fiber and flavor," Bazilian says. Mix steel-cut oats and quinoa (for extra protein), nuts, flaxseeds, maple syrup, canola oil, one beaten egg white, and vanilla in a bowl. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 300° for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes.
Bake better snacks. When you want to munch something crunchy, try oven-roasted edamame or chickpeas. Toss shelled edamame or rinsed and drained canned chickpeas in olive oil and a medley of spices: cumin, coriander, ginger, and smoked paprika. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 400° for 30 to 40 minutes, or until crunchy.
Make smoothies in seconds. Freeze bite-size pieces of peeled and pitted fruit on parchment paper–lined cookie sheets, then store in freezer bags until you're ready to toss the fruit in the blender. Craving a sweet treat? "Frozen mangoes and bananas whipped in a food processor are amazing as an ice cream substitute," Alexander says.
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